Beringer Winery in California's Napa Valley makes an array of fine wines, some of them considered collectible. What we're considering today is a $10 pinot noir widely available in grocery stores. It is not a stunning wine, but the 2009 Beringer Founder's Estate Pinot Noir is a reliable and affordable table wine that can be drunk with satisfaction day in and day out.
Its nose is a lively blend of dark fruits and subtle spice. On the tongue those fruits reveal themselves to be primarily blackberry and black cherry, happily married in a fragrant and bouncy melange with a bit of bramble and anise, the whole mellowed through mid palate by a discreet chocolate kiss. The wine is youthful but nicely structured throughout, with a longish finish asserted by a whiff of coffee with cream.
Serve this wine lightly chilled to about 59 degrees or so, if you like, or just go with room temp. Both choices work. It will pair nicely with white meats or red, especially those with a zesty sauce. We found it delightful with Moroccan-style chicken thighs braised with preserved lemon, green olives and cinnamon.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.